Casey Mittelstadt just completed his freshman season. ©2018, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres sign top prospect Casey Mittelstadt to entry-level contract

TORONTO – The Buffalo Sabres have signed top prospect Casey Mittelstadt, the eighth overall pick in 2017, to a three-year, entry-level contract, the team announced this morning.

Sabres coach Phil Housley said this afternoon he wants to play Mittelstadt as soon as possible. Housley said Mittelstadt is expected to arrive in Buffalo tonight or Tuesday. After tonight’s tilt against the Maple Leafs, the Sabres host the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday.

Naturally, Housley is ... Read the full article

Casey Mittelstadt compiled 11 points in seven games. ©2018, Michline Veluvolu, Olean Times Herald

Sabres prospect Casey Mittelstadt leaves World Juniors happy

BUFFALO – Casey Mittelstadt had seen his name and number in a crowd before. The slick Sabres prospect said some super fans sported his jersey at Eden Prairie High School in hockey-mad Minnesota.

Still, that pales in comparison to spotting his name and No. 11 on Team USA jerseys in the stands throughout the just-completed World Junior Championship.

Yes, some fans have already invested three figures for a jersey of the University of Minnesota freshman ... Read the full article

Alexander Nylander got off to a slow start in Rochester. ©2018, Michline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

World Juniors helping Sabres prospect Alexander Nylander’s development

BUFFALO – In the AHL, where Alexander Nylander has spent most of the last season and a half, the slick forward is still a youngster adjusting to pro hockey.

But at the World Junior Championship, Nylander, 19, is a veteran. In his third and final tournament, Team Sweden, which will compete for a gold medal tonight, has leaned heavily on the Sabres prospect.

... Read the full article

Casey Mittelstadt had three assists Friday. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Team USA rallies for dramatic win in snowy outdoor game

ORCHARD PARK – As the conditions worsened during Friday’s memorable outdoor tilt between Team USA and Team Canada, the stoppages grew longer. Workers hustled to clear the snow rapidly accumulating on the ice surface, filling garbage cans and wheelbarrows and dumping them.

By the third period, the unwieldy mound of snow at the tunnel end of New Era Field looked higher than the end boards.... Read the full article

Jake Oettinger sported a patriotic look Wednesday. ©2017, Olean Times Herald

Team USA excited for outdoor game

ORCHARD PARK – Right away, Team’s USA’s Bob Motzko experienced what he called a “wow moment.” Over his 30-year career coaching college and junior hockey, he has never participated in an outdoor game.

So walking out of the New Era Field tunnel Wednesday afternoon and seeing an ice rink in the middle of the 72,000-seat NFL facility, the home of the Buffalo Bills, was “pretty cool,” Motzko said.

“I’ve only seen (outdoor games) on TV,” ... Read the full article

Matt Moulon (26) fights off Boston's Anton Blihd last season. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Matt Moulson clears waivers, sent to Ontario Reign

BUFFALO – As expected, winger Matt Moulson cleared waivers today, meaning the Sabres will likely send him to the Rochester Americans.

The NHL’s worst team waived the graying Moulson, 34, on Monday. The veteran compiled zero points and a minus-9 rating in 14 appearances this season.

Moulson hasn’t played in the AHL since 2008-09. He’s in the fourth season of a five-year, $25 million contract.... Read the full article

Phil Housley likes Marco Scandella's talents. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Phil Housley likes defense, plans to lean on Marco Scandella

BUFFALO – In a two-week span last month, general manager Jason Botterill addressed the Sabres’ most glaring weakness by acquiring defensemen Nathan Beaulieu and Marco Scandella.

Is either player elite? Hardly. Still, as puck-moving defenders, Beaulieu and Scandella offer talents the Sabres sorely lacked last season and add some much-needed depth.... Read the full article

Casey Mittelstadt spent part of last season with the Green Bay Gamblers. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres prospect Casey Mittelstadt thrived at two levels as senior

BUFFALO – Lee Smith figured Casey Mittelstadt was simply reacting to Eden Prairie’s emotional, season-ending loss. Once the high school hockey superstar settled down, the coach thought to himself, he would change his mind.

In the moments after Smith’s Eagles lost in the final of the 2016 Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament, Mittelstadt, the eighth overall pick by the Sabres on June 23, told Smith he would return for his senior season.... Read the full article

Jason Botterill had to run a draft with scouts he barely knows. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres GM Jason Botterill comfortable with scouts for NHL Draft

CHICAGO – When Jason Botterill was named Buffalo Sabres general manager May 11, he entered what he called a “different situation.”

The Sabres also fired amateur scouting director Greg Royce with GM Tim Murray on April 20. Botterill inherited Jeff Crisp, the team’s head amateur scout, and Murray’s old scouts.

So Botterill only had six weeks to prepare for the NHL Draft with Crisp and his new staff, not exactly ideal.... Read the full article

Jason Botterill doesn't want to rush. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres GM Jason Botterill stays patient at NHL Draft

CHICAGO – Forget about the quick fix. The Buffalo Sabres left the NHL Draft festivities with six prospects and nothing else.

As trade activity engulfed the NHL over the past few days, new Sabres general manager Jason Botterill stayed quiet, choosing to take the patient approach.

Botterill, the hockey world learned, will remake the Sabres, a team six years removed from its last playoff appearance, at his own speed. Outside expectations won’t influence the 41-year-old, ... Read the full article